London-based producer/distributor Hoho Entertainment is teaming up with Miami-based prodco JLI to develop and produce a new animated preschool series Juana la Iguana. Based on the Latin heritage brand of the same name, the 52 x 11-minute series is about the magical iguana Juana who becomes a mentor and guide to two young kids who explore the Galápagos’ Estrella Island. HoHo’s distribution arm, HoHo Rights, will be distributing the series, but no launch date has been announced yet.
The two companies have been in discussions for over a year about the show, according to Helen Howells, one of HoHo’s joint managing directors. Although the deal was just signed, development has already begun on a bible and scripts, which HoHo will have ready to present to broadcasters by the end of May.
Popular in LatAm for more than 20 years, the original Spanish-language IP was created by Tania Gilinski, Amanda Quijano and Anita Katz who wanted to incorporate their culture into a program with social values. They started the JLI prodco then launched the Juana la Iguana brand as three home videos in 1996, one of which was second only to The Lion King in terms of its sales in Venezuela, according to HoHo. JLI then created a 26 x half-hour preschool series in the early 2000s. It aired on BouncyNet’s Channel 5 (Mexico) and was picked up by Mexican broadcaster Televisa Internacional in 2003. The creators of the brand relaunched Juana in 2015 as an educational apps and an online platform for kids two- to six-years-old, and the brand was also adapted into a bilingual musical theater show in Miami in 2017.